Pesto baby, pesto.
Nerds, geeks, tech savants, or whatever catch phrase of the week you want to call us all have different hobbies further outside of the bubble of what most people would think are our assigned loves in life. Sure, most of us love some space-based television show or will argue with you to the death about which company has the better operating system. That doesn’t mean we don’t like to get our hands a little dirty now and again. That doesn’t mean that we should do it without the aid of technology, though. Breaching the distance between cultivating a garden and not having to go outside to soak in the light of the giant fireball in the sky, the Click & Grow offers an opportunity to raise a plant with a little technological aid.
If you’ve ever listened to the 20 Sides of Nerd podcast, you know this isn’t the first time I’ve talked about the outside pairing of geeks and farming. While that focused more on the idea of hacking farming or gardening depending on your area, you’ll be happy to know that the Click & Grow offers a much simpler approach. Each Click & Grow kit comes with a plant cartridge featuring either flowers, herbs, or some other kind of edible. A basil kit was shipped to us for review, which was a welcome addition to my house. As an aspiring chef, having fresh herbs at the ready is a welcome boon.
The Click & Grow itself is an extremely simple product. The entire base of the model acts as a water reservoir, with compartments for the plant cartridge and four AA batteries. Tops are easy to remove in case you need to change the batteries, add in a new cartridge, or add in some water. They simply pop off in two pieces, so you don’t need to hassle trying to fit it over the plant. What makes the Click & Grow fantastic in its simplicity is that it does all the work for you. Inside of the base, there is a system in place to give the plants just the right amount of fertilizer and water that they need – no balancing the needs of the plants based on their looks, no daily watering. All that needs to be done is to pay attention to the LED that is installed every once in a while. On the outside of the Click & Grow, an LED will flash green once every five minutes to let you know everything is going along fine. If it blinks blue, then you need to add water. Flashing red means you need to install some new batteries. All in all, you don’t really need to exert any effort or even pay attention to the Click & Grow for the plants within to succeed.
You might be wondering if it is really a good idea to have batteries sitting in a place where there is water. You wouldn’t be alone in thinking that, as it crossed my mind as well. Before I even put batteries into the Click & Grow, I filled the base with water to make sure that nothing leaked into the chamber. Thankfully, it held just fine. Molding was done in a way that everything outside of the battery cover and the cartridge is one whole piece. This means that the seams between separate places will be solid. Manufacturing plants do have quality testing after all, so in the end there is no real reason to worry.
Using the Click & Grow is just as simple as its construction. After tossing in the batteries and making sure the cartridge is seated correctly, all you have to do is fill it up to the indicated line with water, place it in a window, and let nature do its thing. A plastic lens is included with the kit in order to focus the sun rays into the dirt which sits just a little but under the perforated plastic of the plant cartridge top. Using the lens is highly recommended as you start out. As soon as the sproutlings start to peek out of the holes though, it is time to remove it. It is recommended that the Click & Grow is placed in a window that faces south to ensure the maximum amount of light is taken in. However, in the testing home, there isn’t a window that fits that criterion that isn’t blocked by a fence or has a sill wide enough to accommodate the Click & Grow. This did affect the time it took for the basil to mature, since even when placed by the best window, it still required rotation as the plant tried to reach out for the light.
Within a week and a half, the Click & Grow started to show signs of life. Little basil sprouts started to peek out, giving hope to adding some more flavor to my pasta sauce in the future. However, it would take much longer than that. While the box was worded in a way that made it seem that the herb would be ready for consumption some short time after a month, it was closer to four months until it seemed like the basil was ready to consume. Looking at the Click & Grow website, that closer fits the time frame suggested there. Perhaps the box is more of a blanketing statement, since there are many different types of plants to be grown with this product. At one point, it was believed that the plant was dying, so it spent a day on the patio in direct sunlight during a 70 degree day. Doing that was a huge mistake, as it partially fried the plant. That also proved that the Click & Grow isn’t idiot proof. Thankfully, plants are resilient. Even though this human error delayed the ready time of the basil, the plant lived on.
Click & Grow is a product that is so simple to use you can check on it while you wander into the kitchen for a snack between raid queues or commercial breaks. It is basically a “set it and forget it” style of gardening that everyone should be capable of doing. Be it flowers, fresh herbs, peppers, or tomatoes, there should be a cartridge to your liking to grow. The Click & Grow may not give us things on the instantaneous schedule we are used to in this culture of immediate demand, but it’ll help inject a little bit of freshness back into our lives.
And what was made with the household’s first batch of fresh basil? Pesto baby, pesto.
Product provided for review by PR.